The Board of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation has named Karla Twedt-Ball as President & CEO effective June 1, 2023. Karla brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the role, having served in a variety of leadership roles at the Community Foundation over the last 16 years.
Karla will be succeeding Dr. Les Garner who announced his retirement in August 2022. Les has served as President & CEO since he joined the Community Foundation in 2010. Les will remain in his position until early June.
“We feel very fortunate to have someone with Karla’s experience to step into this leadership position for Linn County,” said Diana Ledford, Chair of the Board of the Community Foundation. “Karla is a visionary leader with a passion for improving our communities. Her strong communication and strategy skills, relationships with donors and community leaders, as well as her leadership on Boards of state and national philanthropic organizations, is impressive and is exactly what is needed for the future of the Community Foundation.”
This announcement signals a new era for the Community Foundation. “Community foundations exist at the intersection of donors, nonprofits, and community,” said Karla. “We are a place where community transformation can happen as long as we listen to and are responsive to the people in our community. I look forward to leading these efforts and believe our possibilities are nearly boundless when we bring these activities together.”
Karla has been with the Community Foundation since 2007. Since then, she has led the strategy of the Community Foundation’s grantmaking and nonprofit capacity-building efforts in a variety of roles. She served as Interim President in 2009, and she has provided leadership on community collaborations and projects involving complex topics of broad importance where philanthropy has played a role.
Karla is an adjunct instructor at the University of Iowa in the School of Planning and Public Affairs. She serves on the board of the Iowa Council of Foundations, including as board chair in fiscal year 2021. She also serves on the board of The Funders Network, a national philanthropy serving organization that supports efforts to create communities and regions that are sustainable, prosperous, and just. She has been honored by the Corridor Business Journal at the Women of Influence and Forty Under 40 recognition events. Karla is also a graduate of the Leadership for Five Seasons program.
Karla has a Master of Public Policy degree from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, and a Bachelor of Science in Geography from the University of Iowa. Past positions include working at Northwestern University’s Institute for Policy Research on a Chicago community policing evaluation project and serving as the Executive Director of Churches United in Cedar Rapids.
“I am very pleased to be passing the baton of leadership of this important organization to Karla,” said Les Garner. “I have been honored to serve the community alongside her during my tenure and I look forward to the energy she will bring to the organization. The Community Foundation is in good hands.”
Karla currently serves as Senior Vice President of Programs and Community Investment at the Community Foundation. She will maintain this role during the transition to the President & CEO effective June 1, 2023.